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Fermanagh 1-14 Roscommon 0-16: Quigley holds nerve to seal the Erne fightback

By Colm Bradley

Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath told his players before the game that it would be their 'refusal to accept defeat' that would get them over the line against Roscommon.

Wee Pete was right. Roscommon led by six points with just 13 minutes left on the clock at Brewster Park. There were only a few who thought there was a way back for the home side but importantly all those wearing green jerseys had total belief.

Marty O'Brien won a penalty, which Sean Quigley drilled home. He also nailed a '45'. Tomas Corrigan then sliced over a sideline ball to tie the game before Quigley swung over his first from play to bring rapture to the home support.

Fermanagh had to win this the hard way. Poor decision making and off-colour shooting saw them five points down at the break. They had greater possession but couldn't make it pay.

By contrast, Roscommon were a picture of ruthless efficiency, scoring nine times from 10 shots over the first 35 minutes.

Ultan Harney and Cathal Gregg grabbed the first two points of the game for the visitors before Fermanagh corner back Niall Cassidy got forward to halve the deficit. The Roslea man proved Fermanagh's only scorer from play in the first half. The Ernemen's other two points came from free kicks, one apiece from Quigley and Corrigan.

Corrigan was handed responsibility of hitting the free kicks. Quigley did ship a heavy knock but also missed some frees he would normally swing over.

Roscommon were having no such problems from dead balls with Donie Shine converting three in the first-half and he also swung over an effort from outside the 50-yard line from play.

Gregg had two more points from play for Roscommon as the Fermanagh defence were finding him just too hot to handle.

Five down at the break, Fermanagh came out and threw everything at Roscommon. Their efforts would be frustrated with Roscommon always able to stretch their lead out again to five or six points. The Ernemen would hit two and the men from the West would return in kind.

Six points down on two separate occasions, Fermanagh refused to go away.

Barry Mulrone had already contributed a monster score after the break and his tackling, along with the calmness of Ryan McCluskey and James McMahon, meant that Fermanagh always had the ability to break up a Roscommon attack and turn the tables.

A Damian Kelly point was an example of controlled build-up and ruthless play from the home side. Yet it was exuberance and audaciousness that won it for them.

Marty O'Brien won a penalty and although Quigley had been having an off-day, he smacked it home with typical matter of factness. He also hit an ice-cold '45' that showed real character.

And then you had Corrigan. With time almost up, the Kinawley man stood on the 14-yard line and with the outside of his right foot, floated a ball over the bar.

The stands were rocking but there was still time for one last act. Quigley rose high to collect a floated ball, manoeuvred his way into a shooting position and chipped his shot over an attempted block and over the black spot as well.

A minute later, the game was over and the pitch was flooded with fans. Roscommon were shell-shocked and Fermanagh, well, they are dreaming again.

Fermanagh: T Treacy; M Jones, T Daly, N Cassidy (0-02), J McMahon, R McCluskey, M O'Brien, E Donnelly, R O'Callaghan, B Mulrone (0-01), R Jones (0-01), D McCusker, P McCusker, S Quigley (1-03, 0-01f, 0-01 45, 1-00p), , T Corrigan (0-05, 0-02f, 0-01sl). Subs: R Corrigan (0-01) for D McCusker (HT), C Cullen for Daly (45), C Jones for P McCusker (51), D Kelly (0-01) for Cassidy (BC 61)

Roscommon: D O'Malley; S McDermott, N Collins, D Murray; N Daly, D Keenan, C Cafferky; I Kilbride, K Higgins (0-01); R Daly, C Cregg (0-04), E Smith; U Harney (0-02), D Shine (0-07, 0-06f), C Murtagh (0-02, 0-01f). Subs: R Dtack for Kilbride(HT), N Carty for Daly (45), D Smith for Murtagh (57), C Connolly for Smith (66), B Murtagh for Cafferky (68), M Finneran for Harney (72)

Yellow Cards: Roscommon: Kilbride (29), Shine (66) Referee: C Reilly (Meath).

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